A local artist is using his talents to raise money for Jacob Heberling’s heart transplant.
Tony Trunzo has been an art teacher at Amherst Steele High School in Amherst for 18 years and has been creating works of art since he was 11 years old.
He said he was hit hard when he found out Heberling, a nine-year-old Amherst student, needed the heart transplant because Trunzo has a son the same age. The boys played in the same baseball league before Heberling became ill in May.
Trunzo has donated to the cause but hasn’t been able to make it to any of the fundraising events. Tired of scheduling conflicts, Trunzo decided to come up with his own way to generate funds.
For the last four years Trunzo has participated in the Tremont ArtWalk, an event in Cleveland where artists showcase their individual works at more than 20 locations.
Trunzo plans to donate 100 percent of his proceeds to Heberling’s fund.
He’ll be showcasing six original paintings at The Flying Monkey Pub on Aug. 14. Each painting will cost $125.
“I want to make it affordable for anybody to buy and I think that’s the key,” he said.
But after receiving a great response on Facebook, Trunzo is considering having an auction instead since the number of paintings is limited.
Jordan Reynolds, a local photographer, is going to do a free shoot so Trunzo can make posters of some of the paintings. He plans to sign them for donations at the opening.
The Flying Monkey will also donate part of its proceeds from that night to the cause.
Trunzo picked the theme for the paintings while keeping the nine-year-old in mind. After seeking advice from his son, Trunzo decided Star Wars was the perfect theme.
“I think conceptually it’s just very cool to have the actual theme of the show relate to what the cause is for,” he said.
Trunzo said this was one of the only times he’s ever painted anything Star Wars but was able to create all six paintings in just two weeks.
“It doesn’t matter what the subject matter is,” he said. “The style is still very consistent and I still love doing it because it’s dark bold lines and color.”
After hearing about the theme, Big Fun Toy Store decided to join in the fundraising. The Cleveland-based business has agreed to donate a Star Wars-themed basket filled with vintage toys to auction off the night of the opening.
“It’s just unbelievable how it all fell together,” Trunzo said.
He doens’t have a set goal for how much he would like to raise and thinks anything he can contribute will make the event a success.
Kelsey Leyva can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @TWE_KelseyLeyva on Twitter.
Photos by Kelsey Leyva | Amherst News-Times
Tony Trunzo poses with two of the Star Wars paintings he created for the Jacob Heberling benefit art show.